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If it's not forthcoming the first time, ask for it again. It's horrible being in a position of needing help, but we've all been there. It feels vulnerable, weak, and hopeless, but asking for help is an act of hope, courage, and strength because it takes us from that disempowered and helpless state to one of empowerment and relief. It's hard to see any other perspective when we feel floored, especially if we're experiencing a cocktail of emotions and are feeling afraid, lost, betrayed, empty, and crumbled. Make space for the emotions to settle, take yourself away from the situation if you can, and express the stress--journal, rant, cry, whatever you need to do. The straw that broke the camel's back was when Marc pinched my thigh under the table because my leg brushed against his as I sat in my chair. Marc, sadly, enjoyed dripping acid on my wounds too. I did my best to chew my steak without letting the tears fall from my eyes. The lump in my throat competed with the food in my mouth for first position in my esophagus. The muscles of my mouth found it difficult to continue chewing as my face was taken over by the emotions that had begun leaking through my cells. I remember the enormous amounts of saliva produced in my mouth. Once the vault door to the safe in my body that held my pain cracked, it was not possible for me to hold back the flood that was behind it. My body began to quiver as I did my best to sit still, and not show my father I was upset. Okay, I can see you don't believe me, I pushed further. Let me give you a specific example of what I'm talking about. No, we never have the TV on during dinner, the man answered. I said, allowing myself to get a little more excited. That's a decision you get to make as a father and as a family. Often when we give ourselves that space, we're able to weigh up the situation a bit more rationally and a solution presents itself. Slowing down when we feel overwhelmed with things to do feels counterintuitive, but that's the exact time we need to pull out the soothing tools that have helped us before.

Self-care also includes things like dealing with a creditor who is chasing you for money rather than burying your head in the sand. Perhaps it's making that doctor's appointment you've been putting off that could give you peace of mind, or at the very least, answers so that you know where you stand. Perhaps there's an icky conversation you've been procrastinating having, which could really take the weight off your shoulders. Whatever future-you would thank now-you for is self-care. Coming together with another person who brings their own unique experiences, perspectives, assumptions, and baggage--and trying to forge a connection--takes effort, compassion, and patience. But there are occasions when our boundaries are dishonored, time and time and time again. When that happens, we absolutely have to be willing to follow through on the (often threatened) consequences of our boundary infringements. My hands started to shake, and so I put my fork down and sat on them, so he couldn't see them tremble. I remember stretching my eye sockets to make space for the tears that were coming, in hopes that they wouldn't hit the table. What -- your life around here is so friggin' bad, huh, Lisa? I work like a friggin' animal, so you kids can go to a nice school, and you're crying? I guess I see what you mean, the man replied, somewhat lost in thought as he continued to process what I was saying. I was eager to give more examples of how technology existed as a tool of the people, for example the use of video games in the treatment of mental illness or how new financial instruments were easing the burden of poverty. In fact, the very smartphone the man was holding in his hand, with so much consternation, was at that moment being used by the US military to help in the management and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Doctors, therapists, and even family members can't be with afflicted soldiers at all times, but a smartphone can. Instead of seeing this technology as driving a wedge between people and the real world, we can see it as a proxy, taking care of the people we love, keeping watch over them, and reaching out when they're in their darkest hours. In this way technology helps people heal, a point I could have made over and over again to the man in the crowd. But another voice broke out over the auditorium sound system. As she climbed up the short flight of stairs onto the stage, she continued, And thank you, BDJ, for the talk and giving so much time for questions. We can't keep compromising ourselves for someone who is being so uncompromising.

There is no such thing as a mistake-less life, there honestly isn't. We all make mistakes, we just don't like to draw attention to them and announce them on a loudspeaker for the world to hear. We typically fret and scramble around trying to cover our tracks to appear as though we have all our shit together. And that's what we're faced with when we log in to any social network: a wall of people looking as though they have their ducks in a row. It's how we handle the aftermath that determines whether we'll grow through what we go through or be felled by it. I pushed myself away from the table and ran to my room as if I had wings. I buried myself deep under my blankets, and stuffed my mouth into a pillow, and cried cries I could not hold back. Like wild horses, the tears and the aching broke free. I could hear my father raging and ranting down in the kitchen. The audience clapped and began to gather their things to go. Well, that was exciting, Brenda said, throwing an arm around my shoulders. I scanned the audience for the man, but he had already disappeared into the crowd. That night in San Francisco changed my worldview and the work I do as a futurist. I realized in that moment that I have an important responsibility to people, which is to help them understand that technology doesn't get to decide the future. This belief is another fundamental of futurecasting, along with the ideas that the future is built by people and that all futures are local. The two latter tenets can be a little abstract, making it hard for people to wrap their heads around them, but people usually get there in the end. The word mistake comes with all of the whoopsie-daisys, oh nos, and Gah, how could I be so stupid? Mistakes are born from a lack of knowledge, experience, and sleep--yup, it's hard to weigh things up cognitively when our cognitive functions are weary. If we can only look at mistakes as lessons, then it becomes all the more interesting. Lessons teach us things, they're valuable, they help us to stay curious, they equip us with what it was that we didn't know in the first place.

When it comes down to it, all mistakes are lessons. When our children or friends make mistakes, we're the first to swoop in with soothing words of kindness and compassion. What we don't do is chuck criticism, nastiness, and told-you-so's at their already bruised souls. I stuffed my fingers in my ears in an attempt not to hear what he was saying, but he was so loud, and our house was so small, I heard every word. Come on, I made you a wonderful dinner, don't let her ruin it. Slowly, my father's voice began to wane, and the chaotic balance in the home was once again achieved. That's because people in the twenty-first century have a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety around technology and its impact on their lives. I meet individuals all the time who, like the man in San Francisco, are terrified that technology is taking away their future and, what's more, that they're powerless to do anything about it. This mindset has become more common in the last couple of decades, as technology itself has become increasingly complicated. People feel like they can't understand it, let alone master it. In fact, according to Chapman University's latest annual Survey of American Fears, based on a sample of fifteen hundred adult Americans, three of the five biggest fears are technology-related: cyberterrorism, corporate tracking of personal information, and government tracking of personal information. To some extent, this is the will of tech companies, which spend billions of dollars creating increasingly sophisticated technologies that spread around the globe like a virus, disrupting businesses and changing cultures. It feels like the future is coming faster and faster each day, people tell me time and time again. It's like we're standing before a massive tsunami of technology with the power to wash away the world as we know it. The tech companies don't mind this, since it allows them to control the narrative. Creating a toxic dialogue doesn't serve us in any way. Speak to yourself as you would to your children or a friend--you deserve your own kindness, even when you've messed up. In the aftermath of a mistake-fest, everything feels broken. We might feel broken by it, relationships might feel broken by it, people around us might feel shaken by it, and life as we saw it might now look different. The thing to remember is that everything we feel and experience is temporary.

The sun will shine again and the darkness will fade. Most things are sort-out-able, even when we can't see the solution. Marc and Leslie were smiling at the dinner table, slipping under the rug too. I, the most raw of the bunch, was up in my room, alone, doing my best not to slip between the cracks that blanketed my mind. Soon after I broke up with my pen, the counting started. In my head, I began counting the letters to the sentences I overheard people speak. I would visualize the letters in my mind, and then count each letter, anticipating it landing on a 10. A sentence like She ran fast was perfect, because the letters in the sentence totaled 10. A sentence like It's really cold outside was also perfect, because when I'd count the letters in that sentence on my fingers, the sentence ended on 20. If a sentence didn't end on a 10, a 20, or a 30, in my mind I would add letters to a word until it did. Add children into the mix, and our collective fear borders on hysteria. Like the angry middle-aged man in San Francisco, people don't know how to protect the very thing in their lives they care most about, even more than themselves. I understood the man's anger and frustration, and I also understood why he would want to blame me personally. Technology is not in control of the future, and neither are the companies that develop it. Yes, technology will have a sizable and significant effect on your future. Give yourself time to deal with the aftershock and then, when you feel calmer and time has healed you, start to take action to learn, make amends, communicate, reflect, and strive to not make the same mistake again. This boundary business is difficult, there's no bones about it. It's a constant kerfuffle of learning, asserting, flexing, reflecting, communicating, and questioning. When we feel as though nobody is listening or heeding our boundaries, it can make us feel less than, diminished, unseen, misunderstood, and unimportant. When we make a foray into this boundary stuff, we can be shaky about quite a bit because it's all so new.